February 08, 2013

Posters and comic books for health

Using art to save lives

By Chris ComleyYellow dots circle about the woman, framing her against a murky background. Her arms rest idly by her sides as she gazes askance. The portrait “Grandmother,” by artist Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (a member of the Seminole, Muscogee, and DinĂ© tribes), is one of many pieces created by well-known Native American artists featured on public health posters throughout the nation.

The posters are part of a campaign by Native People for Cancer Control, based at the University of Washington, to raise cancer awareness and promote cancer-preventive measures to decrease health disparities in the Native community. By leveraging the appeal of art, a traditional tool for learning, the group hopes that the Native Art for Cancer Project will close what has been a persistent gap in public health.

“It’s a great way to start the conversation on cancer topics,” said Carrie Nass, program director for Partnerships for Native Health (PNH).
And:PNH also utilizes art as an interactive tool to raise awareness of public health issues through the Native Comic Book Project. The project teaches youth through comic books.

“To solve health disparities, you have to start with the kids,” said Corinna Tordillos (Northern Cheyenne and Tlingit), a senior majoring in biochemistry and American Indian studies who has been involved with PNH as a student assistant and as a researcher since her freshman year.

By actively engaging the students in the learning process, the project aligns itself with a traditional Native way of learning, thus increasing its effectiveness, said Robyn Pebeahsy (Yakama and Comanche), research assistant for the Native Comic Book Project.
Comment:  The Native Comic Book Project sounds like what the Healthy Aboriginal Network is doing in Canada. I wonder if the Washington people were inspired by the Healthy Aboriginal Network, or if they're working with them.

For more on comic books and health, see It's Up 2 You Available and CDC Books at NYC Con.

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